Chara to Lara: Sushil’s book lists Lalu’s benami deals

Chara to Lara: Sushil’s book lists Lalu’s benami deals

“Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose used to say: Give me blood, I will give you independence. Lalu would tell his partymen: Give me your property. I will make you MP, MLA, Minister.”

This is how Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi summed up Lalu Prasad’s modus operandi to acquire ill-gotten wealth.

In his new book, Lalu-leela, Sushil recalled how he and Lalu joined Jaya Prakash Narayan’s 1974 movement in their fight against corruption.

“But the same Lalu, despite going to jail in ‘chara ghotala’ (fodder scam), continued to mint money through dubious means. He would ask his party leaders to either gift their property to his children or acquired their property through shell companies. No wonder, today Lalu (and his family) owns 141 plots, 30 flats and six residences,” Sushil said.

Sushil's book was launched on Thursday, the late Jaya Prakash Narayan’s birth anniversary.

“Kanti Singh, who was Union Minister of State for HRD in the Manmohan Singh Government, gave her land (around one acre) to Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi on March 13, 2006. This deal was executed to ensure that Kanti continued as a Union Minister. Similarly, Raghunath Jha in 2005 gifted six kathas of land, along with a three-story building, in Gopalganj to Lalu’s sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi in lieu of being sworn in as Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries,”  he said, backed by documentary evidence in his book.

Likewise, Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap has been charged with opening a petrol pump outlet on National Highway 30, on the outskirts of Patna, by submitting false documents. Tej Pratap has also been charged with concealing this property while declaring his assets and liabilities in 2015 (before the Bihar Assembly election), even though the BPCL petrol pump was allotted to him in 2011. The petrol pump has now been sealed and the deal cancelled.

“Even the petrol pump land was leased to Lalu’s son by an industrialist Amit Katiyal, who had set up a beer bottling plant in Bihar,” says Modi.

Another scam was the land-for-hotel scam, also called the IRCTC scam, where Lalu reportedly acquired the land of Kochar brothers, owner of Sujata hotels. This land (for a shopping mall in Patna) was reportedly transferred by industrialists Harsh and Vinay Kochar to Delight Marketing Pvt Ltd, owned by the then RJD Rajya Sabha MP Prem Gupta, a Lalu confidant, in 2005.

The ‘deal’ was done after the Kochar brothers were reportedly awarded two hotels belonging to Railways at Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Puri (Odisha) during Lalu’s tenure as railway minister (from 2004 to 2009).

Eventually, the Delight Marketing Pvt Ltd was reportedly transferred to Lalu’s family along with the assets in 2014 and renamed as ‘LaRa Projects’ (an acronym for Lalu and Rabri) in 2016.

The RJD has hit out at Sushil Modi and charged him with suffering from Lalu-phobia.

“There is nothing new in Sushil Modi’s book. All the details are already in public domain,” RJD vice-president Shivanad Tiwary told DH.